Irish Settlements in Eastern Canada: a Study of Cultural Transfer and Adaptation

Lay Summary 

The majority of Irish immigrants to North America opted for city life. Many though settled in rural areas where they continued their age-old occupation of farming and could transfer and adapt there a wider range of the material folk culture and settlement morphology of their homeland.

This study attempts to assess the extent to which aspects of Irish material folk tradition and settlement morphology were retained, were modified, or were lost in a rural setting in the New World. The information was collected in archives, from personal interviews, and observations of the cultural landscape. The author presents information on census data, agricultural practices, and data on land grants, sales, wills, and litigation over ownership. Church archives offer genealogical data.

Generally, the movement of Irish across the Atlantic resulted in rapid loss of cultural traits. The extent of cultural transfer and the durability of transferred traits were strongest on the Cape Shore of Newfoundland, where some homeland traits were readily reproduced and were slow to change, and least in Peterborough, where they did not endure for long. The St. John’s settlements were culturally closer to the Cape Shore.

St. John's
Newfoundland and Labrador
New Brunswick
Material Culture
Industry Sectors 
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Fishing, Hunting and Trapping
Provincial and Territorial Public Administration
Start date 
1 Jan 1974